Sara J. Garcia Velazquez, M.D., Associate Medical Director (MAPS PBC)

Sara J. Garcia Velazquez, M.D., is a general physician who obtained her medical degree from the University of the State of Michoacan in Mexico in 2012. In 2009, after finishing her medical internship at a state hospital, Sara worked as the lead social service physician in rural areas of Mexico for the Mexican Board of Health. She treated diverse indigenous populations, where she learned the importance of knowing their traditional medicines, including psychedelics, used for generations to treat various illnesses and promote wellness. During this time, Sara used research to improve the infrastructure for patient education, disease screening, and medications for the rural patient population, developing a protocol that outlined how cultural characteristics affect risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes.
Subsequently, in 2013 she moved to the Bay Area, where she studied music at the Pyramind Studios for two years, pursuing her interest in medicine and the healing properties of music. In 2016, she joined the San Francisco Clinical Research Center, where she gained valuable clinical and research experience as a clinical research coordinator and cognitive rater. She spearheaded protocols in the therapeutic areas of mild Cognitive Impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, Cluster Headache, Migraine, and Persistent Posttraumatic Headache.
Sara continued her clinical research journey in 2018 at Science 37, a telemedicine and mobile technology company specializing in virtual clinical trials. As a clinical research coordinator, she assisted with patient eligibility, trial execution, peer and participant training to bring trial participation directly to the participant’s home safely and efficiently. During this time, the therapeutic areas of the clinical trials were Type 2 Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, and Migraine
Sara followed MAPS’ work through the years as she grew up in a medical research household with the works of Dr. Albert Hoffman, Dr. Stan Grof, and Dr. Alexander and Ann Shulgin on the bookshelves.
In 2020 she joined the MAPS PBC team as a Medical Monitor, applying her experience and passion for biomedical knowledge to bring psychedelic medicine to all patients. In 2021 she was promoted to Associate Medical Director and continues to perform medical monitoring activities, ensuring the safety of clinical trial participants, and actively participates in the MAPS PBC diversity working group striving towards diversity, inclusion, and access to Psychedelic Medicine and clinical trials.
Sara is also a musician, a dancer, a traveler, a rock climber, and an avid hiker.